|Peter Metzner, circa 1994|
Don’t even have to look over my shoulder
to know the two poplar trees are there
where we hung our hammock one day like this,
Peter and I, long ago.
Don’t even have to creep along
under the rhododendron
to know that morels are growing there, and Indian pipes,
and if you creep further, the lake,
The lake! that on a starry night shimmers,
stars to the tenth power, moving, glistening,
and maybe even a moon.
Don't even have to lift my head
to know the mountain laurel blooms, millions upon millions,
with all their geometry,
the pink, and the white,
and how they float as they drop to the shimmering lake.
Is that the wee branch that gurgles by,
that gurgled by our tent then, by Peter’s big self and I,
he crashing out solid on the hard earth, snoring,
me, the princess, dragging foam pads and pillows,
and Peter taking them over in the morning?
In the tent, his pocket, and my pocket,
wrist watches and eyeglasses,
the setup and the takedown as smooth as water.
And out there, above us, Grandmother.
Did She know? did She know?
Did She watch, Her patient self,
or even pick him out for Her own,
one of those long-ago days, him so young, so fine,
an Aztec prince, perfect for the sacrifice?
Was danger hovering over us like a million laurel flowers-
could everyone see it but us?
Or should we remember- energy?
Power, ancient and cool as cats,
that burst forth as the joy we had in each other,
so young women would say, “You come alive together,”
unusual as that was for mother and son?
Old, old knowing that filled our days,
welcomed the world, overcame pain,
old knowing that never dies.
We came with it, we leave with it,
we live this way still, Peter and I, at home everywhere,
glimmering like stars, like fireflies,
the rosy energy of Grandmother’s arms
carrying us, carrying us still.
This month, my son will have been gone for ten years. I make a pilgrimage every year to Grandmother Mountain, where I have many memories of being with Peter.
|Price Lake and Grandmother beyond|
|Peter's soul portrait made by Arline Boyce|
|Peter playing recorder, circa 2003|